Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fount of Every Blessing

A few weeks ago while we were sitting in church, our pastor made an announcement about the all-church baptism event coming up on August 14th. I love all-church events, especially since we became a multi-site church. They are the only time when we all gather together in one place and I get to see folks who worship at a different location. Dan and I have worshipped at each of our three campuses at one time or another, where we have made friends and enjoyed special fellowship. So it's almost like a reunion when we are all gathered together in His name. And I knew this event was going to be held in the backyard of a member's beautiful home on a picturesque lake in South Barrington.

I quickly decided I wanted to attend.

The pastor invited those interested in being baptized to sign up. He reminded us that baptism is one of only two ordinances Jesus commanded us to do (the other being communion) which makes it an act of obedience. It is also an act of identification. Being baptized means you identify yourself with Christ. His death. His life.

Few events in my life have touched me more deeply than hearing those who were lost share their testimonies of how Christ found them and worked a miracle in their lives. The stories vary a great deal, but they all celebrate the same amazing truth that we sinners are washed clean by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

So there were plenty of reasons for me to rejoice in this day and occasion.

Then God gave me two more.

My husband Dan and my oldest daughter Caitlin decided it was time they made the same proclamation...that they are disciples of Jesus Christ.

Today skies that began cloudy and gray turned brilliantly blue. The sun shone warm and strong over the hillside lawn and lake where hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ of every age, race and color gathered together in worship.

While sweet, familiar hymns and songs of praise served to remind us we are saved; by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, I watched two more members of my family declare their life in Christ.

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28

Friday, August 5, 2011

Vacation Mode

As summer winds down and the start of school looms I am happily stuck in vacation mode. Backpack sales abound, and school supplies hit the shelves before the 4th of July this year, but it didn't phase me one bit. We've been back from our family vacation for almost a week, and it feels like I was there yesterday. The calendar says football practice and band camp and orientation but it's all a little unreal to me yet.

It helps that my boss has been on vacation for two weeks and my work load has been lighter. It helps that my sister is visiting from Colorado and we do more "vacation-y" type things when she's here. It helps that the pool water is warm and it's still light out until late.

But I honestly don't know why reality hasn't hit me more.

We didn't think we were going to be able to take a summer vacation this year but God provided through the generosity of wonderful friends and we were able to spend several days in Lake Geneva at their home. We had access to a huge community pool and lots of space to lay around and relax. The weather was supposed to be awful but it hardly rained at all. We were able to rent a boat and take the kids tubing for the first time. Well, Caitlin tubed. Maggie took a nosedive in .6 seconds and promptly called it quits. Ryan made up his mind then and there it wasn't worth trying. But it was still a great experience and a lot of fun. Maggie and I went horseback riding and even trotted (her first time) which was an added bonus. I don't know why, but two of the most relaxing places I can think of to be are on a horse or on water (as long as I'm not doing the tubing).

I'm sure within a week or so I'll adjust to the reality of my situation, but until then I'm basking in vacation mode.